Still the leading scorer in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was given another piece of hardware to hang in his trophy case in November. President Barack Obama awarded him with he Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be given to a civilian.
Now, UCLA will honor him as well.
Abdul-Jabbar was given his award for his dominance on the basketball court, sure. It would be foolish to deny that his historical excellence gave him a platform not awarded to all of us, but it’s what he’s done with that platform that is worth noting.
“The reason we honor Kareem is more than just a pair of goggles and the sky hook,” Obama said in November. “He stood up for his Muslim faith when it wasn’t easy and wasn’t popular. He’s as comfortable sparring with Bruce Lee as he is advocating on Capitol Hill or writing with extraordinary eloquence on patriotism.”
UCLA will honor its most successful alumnus on Saturday night in Pauley Pavillion.
They will be play the Arizona Wildcats that night and hope that some of Abdul-Jabbar’s magic will wear off on them. A perennial winner, he helped the Bruins capture three national titles and compile an 88-2 record while averaging 26.4 points per game.
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